Preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. 2 Timothy 4:2
Preach – When you passed that man on the street corner with the sign “Jesus Saves,” did you think about this verse? When you heard that last rousing sermon, did Paul’s direction come to mind? When the evangelization committee asked for your participation in the next community visitation, were you the first to sign up? Or did you think that all this “preaching” stuff is better left to the professionals (and you just signed the check). Paul has something other than proxy Christianity in mind. He asks you to be like JB.
JB (John the Baptist) is the quintessential New Testament example of this Greek verb kerusso. Why John and not Jesus? Because the verb suggests proclaiming, announcing and heralding the news. This is public information. It is not like Jesus with Nicodemus or with the Twelve. It is not the delivery of those mysterious parables that no one understood, or the private instruction Jesus gave in select homes. This is “crying in the wilderness.” But before you run for cover, convinced that you have no ability to “preach,” reflect on Paul’s assumptions. Paul presupposes that every believer can deliver a message of repentance, redemption and hope because every believer has a personal story of an encounter with the Christ. Preaching the word does not require a theological degree. This is proclamation of the Logos, the Word incarnate. Just tell people what Jesus did for you.
I have a friend who owns a construction company. He is a man of few words. He is one of those salt-of-the-earth guys who would do anything to help anyone, but don’t ask him to stand in front of an audience and speak. That’s not his way. On a trip overseas, I asked him to share just a little about his miraculous recovery from cancer. He stood in front of 300 strangers. I said, “Would you mind telling us just a little about what Jesus did for you during that time when cancer was threatening your life.” He didn’t say a word. He started to cry. This 185 pound, 6 foot man of cinder block constitution choked on tears. The audience raised hands to God in praise, wept with him, shouted aloud. God said more through those tears than any words. That was proclamation!
Proclaim Jesus, my friends. That is all that is necessary. God will do the rest (it wasn’t up to you anyway J).